Centre stage at Senators camp

Senators forward Peter Regin looks over his hockey bio during the opening of training camp at...

Senators forward Peter Regin looks over his hockey bio during the opening of training camp at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ont., Sep. 16, 2011. (ERROL McGIHON/QMI Agency)

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:27 PM ET

OTTAWA - No Senator needs the fresh start a new coaching staff brings more than Peter Regin.

Under Cory Clouston, Regin thrived in the latter part of the 2009-10 season and was the teams best player in that springs playoff.

But last season, the two lost faith in each other and Regins play plummeted. He scored just three goals and 14 assists in 55 games before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury.

Regin returns to camp now with his shoulder perfect and anxious to win the affections of new coach Paul MacLean.

I think it helps Peter, because Peter felt he wasnt getting everything he could get last year, GM Bryan Murray said when asked if the decision to cut ties with Clouston would benefit the 25-year-old Dane. So yes, Id say that.

Regin was diplomatic when discussing the coaching change.

I think were all excited to try something new, maybe, he said. I think it will be good for everyone.

Regin will be among the closest scrutinized at this years camp. While he also plays wing, he has to be considered the leading candidate for the all-important second-line centres job. His primary competition will come from a pair of rookies first-round pick Mika Zibanejad and former NCAA star Stephane Da Costa.

I think Ill get the chance and Ill do my best to prove I can be that guy, said Regin. Theres other guys that want that spot, too, but Ill do my best and I know I have the ability to play well and play way better than I did last year. Thats my goal, to just prove myself.

I want to have a big role.

How good can Regin be is the question. As a rookie, he had 13 goals and 16 assists in 75 games, then scored three times in six games during the playoffs.

His speed and puck skills indicated he had the potential to reach another level.

I think I can help the team win some games and really be a guy that puts up points more often than I did, said Regin. And my two-way game, working in my own end, too, and be responsible. The whole package. I never got into that last year and thats what I want to find this year.

I know I can play at that level, he said of his performance two springs ago. Im still young. I want to be better than that, too. I havent reached my high yet.

In the meantime, hes thrilled to be part of a new atmosphere at Scotiabank Place.

Im excited to be here, said Regin. You can feel theres a whole different mood around here. Everybodys happy and everybody is excited to get going and really show that were still a good team.

don.brennan@sunmedia.ca


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